I've been performing now for almost eight years. There have been a lot of ups and downs along the way but the one thing I would say I learned and I hope to get across to people is to trust your journey. Stay away from comparisons, predictions, and be you! No matter how much talent you have or what skill level you're on, the one thing you can do better than anyone else is be you, so embrace that and be you! Be the best you that you can be. The only person you should trying to be better than is the person you were yesterday.
I had a chance to meet Stephan James yesterday. He is the star of the new film Race and he's also appeared in Selma, When the Game Stands Tall, and Home Again. One of the most interesting things he said is when he talked about his brother, who is also an actor and actually has been acting longer than he. He spoke about his journey juxtaposed to his brothers. He didn't do that to say one was better than the other but more so to recognize that, while being different, they both have their own. His brother, Shamier Anderson, has not received the same opportunities that Stephan has but it was beautiful to see the brothers appreciate each other’s process.
It would be easy for Shamier to look at the success of Stephan and be upset, bitter, or whatever, the same way that Stephan could look at his brothers journey and become prideful, haughty, or whatever. But that has not been the case. I'm sure the brothers have their moments but for the most part they have been supported of one another and appreciative to have someone to look to.
Watching another’s journey can be both rewarding, and helpful. The trouble comes in when we start to compare, or when we watch theirs so much, we don't live our own. I spent such a long period of time in my life watching other folks journeys being jealous or bitter, among other things. Probably the worse feeling I felt watching others, was that I wasn't good enough. To the point of quitting. There was a time when I stopped performing all together because I convinced myself I would never be as good as some of my friends, or other famous people. I had been looked over so many times I just didn't want to do it anymore. I thought that I wasn't were I should've been so it would be better to be nowhere at all. I dealt with a lack of confidence in my voice, my looks, my talent, everything.
It wasn’t until I finally stopped thinking about all the other factors, all the other crap, and people and realized it’s my life, and my journey. When it’s all said and done I will not be able to look back over my life and blame anybody for me not doing what I wanted to do. It would be on me. That’s a burden that would be too heavy to bear. Your life is in your hands. It won’t go according to plan, it won’t happen in the timeline you set up for yourself, it won’t be the same as anyone else’s, but it will worth it, and it will be yours! I’ll leave you with this quote from India Arie “Life is a journey, not a destination”. Don’t worry about the where, you’ll get there in due time, the important part is the how!